A young life taken too soon; community gathers to remember Teagan

Teagan McGinnis was funny and gregarious, mischievous and charming.



Teagan McGinnis was funny and gregarious, mischievous and charming.

He had a zest for life. He was a kind, considerate soul who loved his family and many friends.

“He was amazing because he learned early on that it’s not the journey in life that matters, it’s not even the destination, but it’s the people along the journey who truly matter in your life,” said his mother, Laura McGinnis.

Teagan touched many lives before tragically losing his own life.

On a Tuesday morning last November, Teagan said goodbye and told his mom that he loved her as he headed off to school. Within minutes, at no fault of his own, the 16-year-old Kentridge High School junior was killed in a multi-car collision.

“It’s just a nightmare, it really is,” Laura said. “You just wake up and try to get through every day. There’s never a moment when you’re not aware that he’s gone.”

In the aftermath, the Kent family has found ways to honor Teagan.

Family and friends gathered on a frigid Wednesday – the one-year anniversary of Teagan’s death – for a sunrise vigil and balloon release at the scene of the accident, the intersection of South 208th Street and 120th Place Southeast, one-third of a mile from the high school.

A moment of silence was observed at 7:19 a.m., the time of the impact.

The family also used the remembrance vigil to launch The BLUE Heart Project – a tribute to Teagan’s legacy, which was one of service, encouragement and dedication.

The project encourages others to choose a volunteer project or an act of kindness to help someone in their neighborhood, school, workplace or community.

“We’re asking people to stop looking in a mirror at their own reflection and … to look out the window, to look at the world around them, and to notice people, to realize that we need each other,” Laura said of the project, inspired by Teagan’s bright blue eyes and his heart to help people.

As Laura explained, the BLUE acronym represents how Teagan chose to live his life: Be relational; Love well; Understand that you are here for a purpose; and Enrich other lives.

To bring awareness and grow, the project will distribute 10,000 bracelets throughout the community and invite participants to access a website – www.theblueheartproject.com – to select, explain and share service projects, as well as challenge others to get involved.

The project has helped the family cope with a difficult loss.

“I honestly don’t know that if I have pulled through it,” Laura said of the ordeal. “… I definitely know I have faith and that I know I will see him again. … I have an amazing community around me. I have amazing friends. But I lost my child, and I don’t think you ever get over that.”

Teagan, as Laura explained, went through tough times growing up. Teagan died just three days before the sixth-year anniversary of his dad’s death to cancer. Tim McGinnis was only 37.

But the family has bounced back. Laura, who works as a theater teacher at Renton Christian School, is raising three children.

She lives each day for her family. She lives each day in memory of a special boy.

“Teagan was a light to everyone who knew him,” she said. “How he chose to live life has had an impact on so many.”



Laura McGinnis, with her daughter Avery, and Pastor Derek Nelson talks about her late son at the sunrise vigil on Wednesday morning. Mark Klaas, Kent Reporter

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